Three great picture books from Lee and Low, including one I loved about a kid who types

So back when it was still a (relatively) cool, rainy summer I took part in Armchair BEA...and was the lucky winner of three picture books from the great multicultural publisher, Lee and Low.  In all frankness, I selected this as my prize with my library in mind, and not so much for myself, but to my great pleasure I was able to enjoy one of them as a book for me, which is to say, I liked it especially much.

The other two were fine books.  There was Rainbow Stew, by Cathryn Falwell, about vegetable harvesting in the rain (would that I were so lucky), a picture book told in rhyme, and if you like fun in mud and rain outdoors, and tasty veggies of all colors, you'll enjoy.  And there was How Far Do You Love Me?  by Lulu Delacre, a lovely one about grown-ups loving children all around the world, in beautiful far off places (I lingered at the glacier.  Me want glacier right now), and it's a book I can see making a perfect baby shower gift.

And there was the one that struck a chord for me--As Fast As Words Could Fly, by Pamela M. Tuck and Eric Velasquez.   It's the story Mason Steele, a black boy in the south, in the 1960s, who serves as a secretary for his father, busy working on civil rights.   Mason's dad gives him an old manual typewriter, and so Mason learns to type on it...and when the issue of school integration is forced, and Mason and his brothers are unwelcome integrators, Mason's typing shows that he is as a credit to the school and brings him honor. 

I like books in which people do skillful things, and this book showed me that I can include typing on that list.  I am not at all kidding when my heart beat more quickly as Mason chose a manual typewriter instead of the snazzy electrics at the great typing competition....was this the wrong choice??!?  Yeah, sure, I was concerned when he was dissed by white "friends" when he got on the bus, and confronted prejudice in various ways, but the typing, and the un-underlined Point of writing as a valuable tool for effecting social justice made the book sing for me.

In any event, I though it was the most excellent picture book on school integration I've ever read, because while all the Issues were there in force, the typing (the practicing, the proving, the showing the value of your ability, the finding the thing you can do and making it your own) made the story one that all of us who try to do things can utterly relate to, and takes the big issue of school integration, and makes it personal.

This could just be me.  But anyway, I thought it was a lovely book....it is fiction, but based on the experiences of the author's father.


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  2. That last one sounds cool - and it does sound more interesting than the usual approach.

  3. I hope all is well with you and your summer.

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